When Healing and Deliverance Become an Entitlement

I’ve always been fascinated at the story in John 5 of Jesus healing the man by the pool of Bethesda.  He was an invalid and had been lying around the pool in this condition for 38 years. 

An Angel would come and stir the waters of the pool and the first one to step into the water would be healed.

The Lord asked the man if he wanted to be healed.

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

  John 5:7-9

When Jesus healed this man he also delivered him from self-pity.  He not only said to walk Jesus also said pick up his mat.  In other words, stop agreeing with the lie that you are a victim.  He was healed but also delivered from a poverty mindset that day!

But there is something further that we learn in this story.  There is a piece of extreme wisdom that we sometimes overlook in this story.  Later Jesus found him in the temple and he said to the man, “I see that you are better, now stop sinning or something worse is going to happen to you.”

Did you know that?

Did you know that if you continue to sin after being healed or delivered that something worse could happen to you?

Whenever God heals us or delivers us, He means for it to open the door to us becoming more holy.  It is meant to untie our hands and make a way for us to take a step toward the Lord and become like Him.

Whenever we use a moment of healing or deliverance to make ourselves feel better and simply say “Thanks Lord.”  But we never use it to draw close to the Lord… it is then that we become like the man at the pool of Bethesda.  We have become self-centered.  We have become like those who are entitled.

I have seen many people throughout my deliverance ministry be really glad that God helped them to feel better through the power of deliverance.  But they never use it to become more holy.  They don’t really change their ways.  They go on sinning because they have a self-centered attitude.

They believe that God is here to serve them.  They believe that they deserve deliverance and healing because they are children of God.  This kind of attitude is full of pride and hypocrisy.

No one deserves deliverance and healing.  It IS a free gift to us because of what Christ did on the Cross.  But it is obvious through the healing of the man in John 5 that we still have a responsibility after a deliverance or healing to use the gift to become closer to God.

Unfortunately many squander this gift with the attitude of entitlement and in many instances I have seen something worse happen to them.

On occasion, I have had the Lord tell me to stop praying for deliverance for specific people because it would lead to them to more destruction.  Their hearts wanted their own way…they wanted to keep on sinning. 

There will be people in hell who were delivered and healed by the Lord in this life.  God healed them or delivered them in the hopes of getting them to repent and allow the holy, living presence of God to change their hearts.

In essence, all they wanted was what God could give them.  They didn’t really want God.

The way to check yourself on this terrible self-centered attitude is to ask yourself this question:

Are you seeking the hand of God for what He can give you?

Or are you seeking the face of God because you want to become like Him?

A Testimony of Victory Over Attention Deficit Disorder!

In two days, my oldest son will graduate from high school.  I’m not really flipping out about it.  I’m actually excited for him to go and fulfill the purpose God has laid out for him.  I’ve done my part, now it is time for him to spread his wings and learn what his destiny in God’s kingdom will be.

I’ve shed a few tears, but not for the reason you might think.  My tears have been tears of joy at what God has done for my son over the past 10 years.

It became apparent in second grade that Josiah was having trouble focusing.   He couldn’t comprehend what he was reading.  When he was called upon to answer a question – he couldn’t give the answers because he was in another world.  The teacher would find him staring out the window when he was supposed to be doing his work.  It was like there were five train tracks of thought in his mind and he could not stay focused on one of them.  His mind just jumped from track to track and he had no control.

The teacher asked if we could have him tested for ADD and we agreed.  It was obvious something was wrong and my heart was broken for him because he was lagging further and further behind his classmates.

He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  We prayed and prayed about an answer from the Lord.  We discussed Josiah’s dilemma with many people and finally we felt at peace with having him try medicine for Attention-Deficit.  Not everyone in our circle of friends and family were happy with our decision – but we had a peace that this was the answer for Josiah.

So we started medicine and didn’t tell the teacher.  She contacted me the same day and said she could tell an immediate difference.  She was even surprised at the positive difference that ADD medicine made for him.

It wasn’t a magic pill.  It didn’t automatically fix everything.  In fact, we still had a very long road to go.

Josiah also had trouble taking tests.  He had trouble recalling all that he had learned while studying.  I decided one time when he was in fourth grade that we simply weren’t trying hard enough and we studied one night for three hours for a social studies test.

Later the next day I had to be at his school for another reason and I asked the teacher how he did on the test.  She just shook her head no and showed me that he had gotten a “D.”  I walked out of that room so defeated but I immediately heard a song playing in my head as I stepped into the hallway.  I knew God was speaking these words to me about Josiah and his ADD condition. 

Resting in His promise, I carry no shame.

God was saying to me, “I have a plan and a purpose for your son.  There is no need to be ashamed that he cannot process school the same way as other kids.  Nothing can stand in the way of what I have for him.”  It was at this point that I laid down my expectations of having an A/B Honor Roll student and simply let God be God.

ADD didn’t have to define Josiah if I didn’t let it.  We didn’t let him make excuses.  We insisted that if he had to study longer that he was simply going to have to do it.  He had to read books twice in order pass the computer test.  He had to let go of the shame of having his tests read to him.  He had to learn to ask for extra help if he needed it.  It was very hard.  And there seemed little reward for our efforts.

Josiah did make the honor roll for two quarters his entire elementary career.  That was quite a feat for us!

When our second son began school it was a breeze to him.  Everything came easy. He loved to read. He hardly ever studied for spelling tests.  It was at this point that the perseverance that God was building inside of Josiah became very real to me.

You see, Josiah had to climb a mountain every day just to be on the same level as the other kids.  School came easy to the kids who didn’t have ADD.  But Josiah had to exert twice the effort to just be “average.”

However, one day the Lord spoke to me concerning Josiah’s “average” school journey and He said, “Josiah climbs a mountain every day to be on the same level with the other kids.  There will be a day when he will outgrow his ADD and he will have something the other kids don’t… He will have mountain climbing muscles.”

Cue my tears!

After all of these years of climbing the school mountain every day, Josiah has perseverance, strength, diligence, and he is VERY conscientious and this young man is ALWAYS happy!  He really does have mountain climbing muscles.

As a senior, I can say to you that I see the fog lifting from over my son.  God is revealing my son as the man I always knew he could be right in front of my eyes and I will tell you that it is glorious after all of these years of struggle!

He made it through high school and I could hardly believe it when I pulled his final grades up the other day… in his final quarter as a senior, his grade point average was 3.889 for the quarter!  I cannot tell you how that also makes me want to tear up.  This little boy who could not keep his mind focused on one of the five tracks in his head conquered his senior year with a bang.

All of you moms and dads out there with children who have ADD or ADHD – if you focus on climbing the mountain every day and not let yourself or your child feel sorry for themselves… there is something that Attention Deficit can actually enhance in your child. 

We also glory in our sufferings (Attention-Deficit), because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  Romans 5:3-5

Use the “suffering” of ADD and ADHD to produce perseverance, character and hope in your child.  They WILL outgrow it or learn to cope and God WILL make a way for them to accomplish His purpose!

Rest in His promise and carry no shame.

Deliverance From Depression: A Modern-Day Thank Offering

I struggled with depression for years.  A lot of my depression came from self-pity that was caused by early childhood trauma.  I felt sorry for myself.  BUT my depression was also spiritual.  The enemy took advantage of my trauma to layer a heaviness of depression over my spirit.

I was not fully delivered from my depression until I was about 30 years old.  It took awhile to figure out where the root of my pain was coming from.  In the meantime God taught me a tool to keep myself above the cloud of depression.

I want to share it with you now.

The key is found in Psalm 50:23 “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."

In the Old Testament a Thank Offering was an actual animal that was sacrificed on the altar.  But in the New Testament we offer a thank offering by simply putting our “feelings” on the altar and thanking God for how good He is and all the good things He has done.

I know that this might seem like a simple answer to an overwhelming feeling of depression but I promise you if you believe God’s word and offer Him a thank offering – it OPENS (prepares) the way for God to show us salvation. 

If you need to be SAVED from your depression and heaviness, open the way for His salvation by offering a thank offering.

Sometimes I would set a goal for myself:  I would challenge myself to 10, 25 or even 50 things I could list that I was thankful for.  I would not let it be easy.  I made them deep, thoughtful things that I was thankful for.   My list would look a little like this.

God I thank you…

1. That all of my needs are met.

2. That You are always near even if I don’t feel it.

3. That we have a car and a home and a yard.

4. That You are bringing glory to Yourself through my pain.

5. That You hear me.

6. That You that Your plan is perfect even if I don’t see it.

7. That I will be with You one day in paradise.

8. That You play songs for me in my head to get my attention.

9. That You are mindful of my children and love them even more than I do.

10. That You are sovereign and nothing escapes you.

After offering this sacrifice, ask the Lord to open the way for His salvation to come and save you from your depression.  This Thank Offering to God is a warfare tool against a spirit of heaviness and depression. 

This worked so many times for me.  The clouds above my head would clear and I would stop drowning for a period of time.  There were many times that I almost quit and the Lord would prompt me to offer a thank offering.  I would do it and the sun would come out over my soul and it would enable me to keep on going! (P.S. 50 of them is HARD!)

Keep in mind this is only an “aspirin” for your depression.  You’ll have to do this every time the depression cloud comes for you.  It’s kind of like cutting off the branch of the tree of depression.  You will still need to find the root over time – so keep pressing into the Lord for complete deliverance.

There is a higher form of deliverance.  The one where you find the root of where the enemy sowed the seed of heaviness and depression.  But this tool will keep you afloat until you find it.  

(I do also believe there is chemical imbalance in some people which causes chemical depression - but one should also explore ALL other possibilities of healing.  After trauma and trigger mechanisms are dealt with, there are times when medicine is necessary.)

How It's a Mistake to Want Jesus to Come Back NOW!

There have been days that I simply wish Jesus would come back for us.  There are days I want to be done with the pain of this imperfect life.  I know there is another life waiting on us.  I’m ready for no more sorry, no more pain and no more tears.  I’m ready for golden streets, a crystal sea and most importantly there will be the perfect peace of being in the presence of Jesus.  I have a lot of loved ones who are already there.  There are times I have a burst of grief that makes me long for heaven.

Several years ago during a day of grief, I was longing for the next life so I could escape the pain.  The Holy Spirit comforted me in a most unusual way.  He spoke to my spirit and said, “Tisha I know you long to be here with Me, I just need for you to bring a few people along with you when you come.”

It completely blessed me that He identified with my suffering.  He understood that I wanted out of the pain.  But then poured VISION into me which helped me to lift my eyes.  He was basically saying I had some work to complete on earth that would enable others to come to heaven as well.  The Holy Spirit encouraged me with the vision that when it is my time to come home to heaven others will come behind me because of my faithfulness.

I have work to do.

I had a friend tell me about a dream the Lord had given to her as she was longing for the return of Christ as well.  In her dream she saw Jesus turn the light switch on and then off.  He spoke to her and said, “That is how fast this life goes in the span of eternity.”  END OF DREAM

Think about it – compared to the massive width of eternity – this life is a TINY part of it.  Yet whatever happens in this tiny little earthly life will affect us for all of eternity.

In all honesty, I was being a little selfish to want Jesus to come back so I can be pain free.  It is a self-focused way of living life.  Enduring pain is part of carrying our cross.  In my desire for His return – I was essentially saying that I didn’t want to bear my cross anymore.  I had forgotten the reason for carrying my cross – I carry my cross for the sake of the Gospel. 

Jesus has His reasons for waiting to return for us.  He doesn’t want any to perish.

2 Peter 3:8-9  But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

It is OK to desire the return of Christ but it is not OK to long for His return for selfish reasons – that is called “Escapism.”

I have a much different outlook now.  I am focused on the work I have been given to do.  I am focused on the simplicity of loving Jesus each and every day to the fullest.  If I keep my eyes focused on Him and not so much His return – I will have accomplished all that I have been assigned to do. 

And when I enter heaven’s gates… I pray that I take a few more people along with me when I go! 

Revival Won't Come Without the Synergy of the Generations

Today at church we sang the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong United.

Here is a verse from the song:

I see a generation, Rising up to take their place

With selfless faith, selfless faith

I see a near revival, Stirring as we pray and seek

We're on our knees, we're on our knees

My heart was pricked as we sang it.  I felt the Lord infuse my heart with these words, “I need ALL of the generations to take their place for this revival to happen.”

God needs for all three (and soon four) generations to unite together in unity.  He wants to pour out a revival of the ages but it does not rest with one generation.  It is the one accord of the generations in the Church that will birth revival fire. 

 (For reference here are the loosely determined definitions of each generation. Boomers: Born ‘45-‘65 Generation X: Born ’65-’85 Generation Y (Millennials): Born 85’- 05’ Generation Z: ’05-present)

He needs the Boomer Generation to rise up and take their place with

the sage wisdom that they have. He needs Boomers to begin pouring out like never before.  They have been a witness to decades of good and bad in the Church.  They have a wisdom that is necessary for the administration of this coming revival.  Up to this point few of them have discipled the next generation, or if they have discipled them they have refused to hand over the keys.  This must begin to happen to see a synergy happen between generations.  It is not too late.  If you are part of the Boomer Generation, ask the Holy Spirit for a spiritual son or daughter to mentor with the intention of handing them the authority to lead.  Remember, they won’t lead the way your generation did so be careful not to reject them when they put your wisdom into a new language for their own peers.

God needs Generation X to rise up from its trauma.  I recently asked the Lord why Generation X is asleep and He said to me “Generation X is not asleep, they are traumatized.”  If you are part of Generation X, whether or not you are aware of it… abortion has taken a toll on you. (Abortion was legalized in 1973.)  You can feel the absence of ONE-THIRD of your generation.  (Yes I said ONE-THIRD!)  This generation was the first latch key generation, where both parents worked and the kids came home to an empty house. The previous generation has also rejected you as you have hit your head on a glass ceiling refusing to hand you the authority to lead.  Generation X feels expendable.  But the Lord would say, “X MARKS THE SPOT!”  He needs for Generation X to forgive both the Greatest Generation for abortion and the Boomers for not trusting you to lead.  God calls Generation X the Moses Generation.  You have spent your 40 years on the back side of the desert.  It is time to forgive those who tried to keep you down, find your voice, stand up and lead my people out of bondage!  Rise up Generation X and lead!

Generation Y (Millennials) You are called to be on the front lines of this revival.  You will have the voice of a trumpet and you will be the feet of God's Army that will GO and MAKE DISCIPLES.  Your faith will be a wonder to behold.  The miracles that God will pour out in your time on earth will be an awesome thing to witness.  The one thing that Millennials can do to bring the generations together is to listen closely to the previous generations.  You can save yourself a lot of pain and suffering if you will not reject what the Boomers and Generation X are trying to tell you.  Some of you have bought the lie that you are the only generation that matters, this is not how God’s Kingdom works.  The Millennial perspective will be quite valuable in the coming days, but they will have to learn to love the wisdom of the previous generations in order for true unity to come.

If each generation will forgive the other generations, if each generation will consider the others better than themselves, if each generation will be satisfied to function in their part of the body then UNITY WILL BEGET THE SYNERGY OF REVIVAL!

God works through the entire Body of Christ and that Body will hold Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials and we WILL FIND A WAY TO INCLUDE GENERATION Z!  We will not reject the next generations.  We WILL raise them up!  We will not leave them fatherless! 

I call to every generation to take your place, for the ‘near’ revival is now upon us!

The Journey to Joy

The Journey to Joy

by Tisha Sledd as published in 'her' magazine

My mother Peggy and my brother Toby and me

     I walked into Mancinos with my newborn son in a carrier.  It was all I could do to keep my emotions in check.  I was exhausted and depressed.  I felt abandoned by friends.  My husband had just finished college so financially we were more strapped than we had ever been.  The cloud I was under seemed to indicate that there was no hope.  There was no plan. Did God even care about the darkness that surrounded me?

 I mustered up my courage and put on a brave face to meet with an old friend of

my mother's who had been asking to meet with me.  I wanted to honor her request, but everything within me simply wanted to stay home in my dungeon and hibernate.  It is funny now to think back to my demeanor that day because I had no idea what God was about to do right in the middle of Mancinos.

You see I really never knew my mother.  She died of breast cancer when I was just four years old.  She was 29 years old when she found a lump in her breast.  The doctor took a look at the lump but said to watch it for 6 months and of course, by then it was too far gone.  It's amazing how far we've come since 1977! 

Since I was so young the only memories I have are of getting her a blanket and I remember visiting her in the hospital.  She died a month after my fourth birthday.  I remember my dad and aunt taking my brother and I in the back room of my grandparents house and telling us she had died. I didn't understand death but I do remember the somberness of everyone.  And then as reality set in on me, there was a kind of heaviness that was painted over my soul.  It was a seed of self-pity.

My Mother Peggy and father Virgil with

my brother Toby and me.

The ramifications of my mother's death and how my father handled life afterward sent my world into a vortex of chaos.  “Poor Tisha,”  I remember my grandmother saying over me. No one understood how those words ended up defining me.

I told my sister not long ago that I felt death had been my companion most of my life.  The heaviness of death and self-pity were always close to me as I grew up.  Looking back now I can see how many events in my life were overshadowed by a dullness, not really ever being “in” the moment, always thinking about the next highlight.  I learned to numb my pain with everything from food to television.  Silence was my enemy, because the creeping thought of how much I hated my life would be so loud it would paralyze me. 

Until one day at age 26, a ray of light broke through my cloud, it was in a healing prayer session.  God began to show me that I had great worth, no matter what life threw at me.  That the events in my life and the labels my grandmother and others had given me didn't have to stick.  God showed me that because I agreed with the label “Poor Tisha” I could not rise out of the darkness.  The self-pity was a layer of heavy lead in my foundation.

After this revelation, it was as though a hole was poked in my layer of darkness.  It was an arrow of hope and I began to lift my head.  It wasn't gone, but I was starting to figure out that I might even be able to find joy in this life.

Up to that point joy seemed unattainable. I would experience a moment of joy at a wedding or a birth,  but to feel joy on a daily basis was a far off thought.

I was in a similar state that day in Mancinos.  My trials overwhelmed me and “Poor Tisha” felt like an appropriate name tag.  My mother's friend was telling me all about how special my mother was.  She was telling me what a trooper she was through the cancer.  As sick as she was my mother would send cards to other people in the church who were sick.  She told me of her deep love for others.  She was determined to be at home for my fourth birthday party though it took every ounce of energy she had.  And then she said something that God used to touch my heart in a way that only could have been divinely conceived. 

   “You know, your mother would always say, 'Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning!'”

     When my lunch companion said this, it was as though God opened up heaven and it was my mother speaking this wisdom directly to me.

It was like she was saying, “I know where you are headed, because I am cheering you on from Heaven's grandstands.  It is going to get better.  Your trials are momentary.  Joy is just up ahead!”

I don't know how I held it together that day in the restaurant.  But I made it home and released my pain though a flood of tears.  I lifted my head a little higher and began to re-evaluate my definition of joy.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

This verse seemed so contrary to my understanding of joy.  In my immaturity, I thought 'joy' was the equivilant of 'happy'.  But this verse was quite clear that is not the case.  Consider your painful trials as pure joy because eventually it will lead to maturity if we persevere. 

It reminded me of another verse, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2.  Again, that seemed so contrary to my definition of joy.  Jesus endured the pain of the cross because He knew there was joy set before Him.  Jesus knew that His pain was accomplishing something.  He was looking forward to being with me.  His death brought me life and that brought Him joy.

My mother was able to endure cancer because no matter the outcome, she knew that one day there would be joy in eternity and that we would be together.  I can endure difficult life circumstances because I know the One who will turn it all for my good.  Though my natural life may be in chaos and darkness if my mind is fixed on the morning that is coming, I will never walk without joy again.

In my journey to understanding true joy, I have come to this conclusion.  Pain and trials are inevitable, but they don't define me.  In the midst of even the darkest pain there is joy ahead, because if I persevere my pain is accomplishing something.  That is where my mind must be set. Morning is coming, and oh the joy that awaits!